Tuesday, 27 August 2013

PRODUCT REVIEW :: 'Rokii' from Bower & Beyond

I had the pleasure of going to Kids In Style for the first time this year, and discovered all sorts of fabulous new products. Today I would like to introduce you to my favourite find - 'rokii' from Bower&Beyond.

I love this product so much I even contemplated having another baby just so that I could buy one of them! It's everything you could ever want in a piece of baby gear: versatile, adjustable, multi-purpose, sturdy, easy to clean (yes please!!), environmentally friendly, and soooo gorgeous! No wonder it won a Good Design Award last year!

rokii, baby gear, baby rocking chair, rocker, ride-on toy

"rokii is a sleek rocking egg chair that morphs into a ride-on toy, for fluid functionality from newborn through to preschool"

This was very quickly added to my list of items to recommend to expecting and new mothers. As my clients and readers of my book will know, finding clever products which can fulfill multiple functions is very important to me (this saves having to buy, store, maintain, and ultimately get rid of, multiple other items) as well as finding natural, non-toxic and environmentally friendly products. With the rokii egg containing no BPA, phthalates, or PVC, the base being made out of natural bamboo, and the full kit serving the purpose of 5 different products - this certainly ticks all of those boxes. 

One additional benefit which I love, is that even if you have a preschooler and a newborn, rokii can entertain both. Often products which "grow" with your baby, only serve one purpose at any one time. Think about a cot which converts to a toddler bed - it's either a cot or a toddler bed, it cannot be used interchangeably as both (unless you hold the world record with an allen key). rokii goes from horizontal newborn rocker to preschool ride-on in just a few minutes. I think this image from their website says it best...

rokii, baby gear, baby rocking chair, rocker, ride-on toy

*Please note - this is not a sponsored post and I have no affiliation with Bower&Beyond

Monday, 19 August 2013

HOW TO :: 5 Little tasks to make a Big difference

I am very pleased to introduce a new monthly feature called "HOW TO". Each month I am going to do a post on something quick, easy and cheap (usually free) that you can do to get more organised. This first one is about 5 little things you can do to make a big difference, and hopefully the results will motivate you to do more than 5 things!

declutter, decluttering, organising, get organised, routine, time management

Start by doing one of each - it should take you about 5 minutes - at the same time each day (first thing in the morning, after school drop off, just before bed - when ever works best for you), and when you have established that routine you can then ramp it up to do a few of each, or one of each at both the start and end of the day. Choose just one area to work in for each 5 step exercise - the kitchen bench, the kids' room, your desk, etc - it will help concentrate your efforts and make more of a visible difference.

The idea behind this is to only choose items which can quickly be actioned, not items which you need to think long and hard about before deciding what to do. The more difficult decision-making process is the topic of a forthcoming blog post, so just stick with the quick and easy stuff for now.

Step 1: Get rid of it

If there is anything in your chosen area which you have thought "I really should throw that away", now is your chance. Find one thing which needs to be put in the rubbish or recycling bin, and do it. Also, if there is an item which has been sitting around for months waiting to be fixed and there is no chance of you getting around to doing it soon, and especially if no one has missed it, just throw it out.

Step 2: Put it away

I know it's much easier to just put something on your desk than in the filing cabinet, or on the chair instead of in the wardrobe, but this is how piles of clutter can quickly develop. Again just choose one thing in your chosen area which is not in its right place and which you know has a proper home, and go put it away. If it doesn't have a proper home or you don't know what to do with it, leave it - remember we are just looking for items which can be actioned quickly.

Step 3: Do it
Make that phone call, send that email, book that appointment, change that lightbulb - choose one quick task which has been hanging around on your "to do" list and get it done.

Step 4: Schedule it
If it is not a quick task that can be done as part of this exercise, then schedule it in your diary or calendar. A "to do" without a "when" will never get done, so schedule it in and allocate the time required to get it done.

organising, getting organised, planning, routine, schedule, time management

Step 5: Straighten it
That very large pile of paper on your desk is not going to be solved in this quick exercise, so straighten it up into a neat pile and straighten up everything else on your desk, and the visual effect will instantly be pleasing and less chaotic for your brain to process while sitting there. The same applies to any other area you are working on - if you just neaten up the piles of clutter it will make it much easier for you to work through your quick 5 steps the next time round. Plus you are less likely to just dump something down in a neat area than you are in a messy area.

If you stick with these 5 steps it will soon become habit and you will action these items immediately, instead of waiting for piles to form which will need to be addressed later. Let me know how you get on with this exercise - I would love to hear your feedback.

images courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net

Sunday, 11 August 2013

It's all about boundaries

I have concluded, based on my experience with many different clients over the last 2 and a half years, that being disorganised is all about boundaries - either not establishing them when there are none, or not respecting them when there are.

Think about a wardrobe - it is a specific fixed size, with it's physical structure setting the boundaries. If it was designed to comfortably accommodate 20 hanging garments, but you have stuffed 50 in there, then you are not respecting the boundaries of the wardrobe, and in fact you are not respecting the garments either, because they have no room to "breathe" and are getting all wrinkled and are not being worn because you can't even see what you've got in there any more, and when you can't be bothered trying to force another item in there it gets chucked on the closest piece of furniture or horizontal surface. (Same goes for the overstuffed shed, kitchen drawers, toy box..... etc).

clutter, declutter, decluttering, organising, disorganised, organiser

Your day is the same - the fixed length of 24 hours sets the boundaries, but because they are not tangible or visible, it's even more difficult to respect them.

Then there are all sorts of things that have no boundaries at all, and if you do not establish some for yourself you are going to be in big organising trouble! There is no limit to the flow of information, entertainment, work, requests, demands, email, junk mail, and so on. If you were not able to set (and stick to) boundaries with all this coming your way, you would end up being consumed by the internet and cease to be a functioning member of society! Obviously this is an extreme case, but I'm sure you get my point. Not operating within appropriate boundaries which you set for yourself and your lifestyle can lead to a frustrating overflow of stuff cluttering up your mind, your time, and your to-do list.

To use boundaries effectively, start big and break the area down into smaller and smaller areas, until you have well-defined homes for everything. If you have a place for everything, it's much easier to have everything in its place. Your actual home is the first boundary, which is broken down into smaller functional zones (the different rooms) which contain appropriate things, and then those rooms are further broken down into smaller areas (wardrobes, kitchen cabinets etc). Within those you can use drawer dividers, shelf dividers, storage boxes, or other tools to establish further boundaries or specific homes for items (for example a box for batteries in the kitchen "junk drawer").

The concept of boundaries does seem restrictive at first, but really they provide a framework within which to operate, so you know exactly what goes where, and what you have in each specific zone. And respecting those boundaries means items are better looked after and much easier to keep to organised.

So what boundaries can you set in your home and life to get more organised? I would love to hear from you!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Information Overload

I have just returned from 4 very busy days at our annual AAPO conference, immediately followed by a day at the Kids in Style / Life in Style trade expo. I'm not going to lie - my brain hurts and I'm exhausted!

I absolutely loved the conference! I was on the committee which organised it so it was great to see all our hard work come to fruition, and I also presented for the first time at the conference. There is something wonderfully satisfying about being completely immersed in all things organising for 4 days! We had some incredible speakers and I learnt soooo much, but I have definitely been subjected to information overload.

organising conference, professional organiser, information overload

If you have ever experienced anything like that before, remember that organising your thoughts and information in your head is very much like organising your physical belongings. You can't hold on to everything, otherwise things get too cluttered and messy in there, and it becomes difficult to access what you need. Rather, assess what is useful and meaningful and find a home for it, and the rest of it will either be discarded, or placed in storage for later reference. My first task tomorrow is to review all my notes from the past 5 days and do exactly that.

In the coming weeks I'll be sharing with you some of the fantastic lessons I learnt and products I discovered, and I just know you are going to love them, almost as much as I do!